Phil Wicks leads a quality field for the inaugural elite men's race of the Stanmer Park 5 mile which takes place on Sunday in Brighton. With a best time of 23mins 25sec, the Belgrave Harrier is the fastest on paper and the man to beat, though he is cautious about his chances.
"I don't think of myself as the fastest man in the field or the favourite to win and will be approaching the race like any other," said the 27 year old. "I will just be trying to run as well as I can. The assembled elite field is made up of some top class British runners who will all be just as desperate to win as myself."
Wicks's lifetime best for the distance came two years ago and he is also the fastest over 10km with a time of 28min55sec, also achieved in 2009. "I was really keen to come and race in Brighton. There aren't too many opportunities to race over five miles so I'm looking forward to seeing what time I can run over the distance."
Two men who could push Wicks all the way are Dave Webb of Leeds City, who could represent the Belgrave's man's biggest threat, and Paul Richardson of Charnwood. Wicks splits most of his training between Cobham in Surrey, where he lives, and Windsor where his coach is based.
"Since I am currently training towards running a marathon, my sessions mainly consist of long hard tempo/threshold runs, but my most enjoyable sessions are long hill repetitions which are essential for building up strength endurance," explained Wicks who is a pensions consultant for Legal and General.
Wicks will not be alone in Brighton. His wife Emily, whom he married last summer, will be racing in the women's elite field. The women's event gets under way at 10.40am and the men's seven minutes later.
The elite races are part of a day of racing organised by Grounded Events Ltd, the team that stages the Brighton Marathon